If ever there was a time when we needed personal finance advice, it is now. So many people are out of work since their employers were forced to shut down their businesses due to COVID-19. Those who have been fortunate enough to draw unemployment are learning that the government seems to think renewing the benefits that are about to expire is a bad idea. Other employees are being forced to work from home, which in some ways puts an extra financial strain on the home, with the increased use of all utilities, like water and AC cost, since the person is now home all the time.
So who better to turn to for personal finance advice than the guru of home and family, Martha Stewart? Maybe Suzie Orman or Dave Ramsey, but for the purpose of this Rules of Thumb blog post from MoneyThumb, we are going to go with good old Martha. On her website, Martha Stewart has this article titled Five Smart Financial Moves to Make During Pandemic.
From the article, "Even if you haven't seen a change to your job or compensation, the customers your business serves may be victims of the economic downturn and, therefore, impacting how they do business with you," says Priya Malani, founder, and CEO of Stash Wealth. "Many employees with sales-based, entertainment and marketing roles are worried their commissions won't return until mid-2021."
That is another consideration. People don't have money to spend at your business even if you are open, or they are afraid to go out. But the article from the Martha Stewart website offers hope for those who are trying to handle their personal finances in the best way during these trying times. Fortunately, Malani says there are several ways to stay on top of your finances when facing the threats of economic uncertainty. "If your compensation has been reduced, being able to pay bills, maintain savings, and manage outstanding debt is a big challenge," she says. "If you don't have an emergency fund (with enough to cover three months' worth of fixed expenses), the pandemic should be a strong reminder of how important it is to have one."
Five smart financial moves Martha Stewart offers in the article are listed below:
- Pay down your debt
- Reduce outstanding debt
- Build up your savings
- Pause payments
- Take advantage of government assistance
Another helpful article from Martha Stewart's website that will help you with personal finances during this pandemic covers ways to save money on household bills while we are all stuck at home. Unfortunately, we are coming up on the hottest months of the year, and without the proper attention, your utility bill could skyrocket. Below are ways you can save on those bills:
- Replace air filters
- Seal your ducts
- Turn on all ceiling fans
- Install energy-efficient lighting
- Invest in smart thermometers
Although we aren't Martha Stewart, the Rules of Thumb blog would like to make one last suggestion that is a smart financial move during this pandemic. This is the perfect time for DIY, (do it yourself.) It may be time to let the yard guy go and begin mowing your own lawn. Many people outsource practically everything, from housecleaning to yard work to delivery services. In the pre-COVID-19 world, people turned to pros because they were busy and pressured. But more time at home means less of an excuse to avoid learning to cook, clean, conserve, reuse. With the right attitude, this can be a time of great discovery. You may learn that you enjoy gardening or growing your own vegetables. Or you could find out that you have a hidden talent in the home improvement area. Even though we are being challenged like never before, this time can be an empowering adventure if viewed with positivity.